To distil the confluence of my wanderings for an inquiring mind, in the simplest of terms, I might simply pose the question: “What is real?”
Though a pantomime may be entertaining, it is of no consequence when it comes to an end.
The mind (and consequently the World) is to consciousness as the characters of a play are to the one who watches the play.
Knowing is something that appears within and to itself only; nothing has ever been known.
To say something is meaningful, is to profess to know something of it; therefore, I have nothing meaningful to say.
The availability of facts is always intrinsically finite, whereas the reality is always infinite. Furthermore, though facts represent assumed stable relationships between labelled qualia, facts in and of themselves, being finite, in particular with respect to time, are intrinsically unable to provide any truly meaningful weight, relevance or meaning to any specific phenomena, as the orientation for any decision, action or response, whatsoever.
In fact, every ‘Being’ evidently runs perennially on something much closer to what we might call ‘instinct’ than on anything approximating reason. Behind every axiom is a series of unstated assumptions, for which there is no solid evidence, whatsoever. Out of basic necessity, and almost as often, out of ignorance we almost always ignore this potentially inconvenient and superficially frightening truth.
At first consideration, this situation is evidently so stark that nothing whatsoever of value can be meaningfully established on the basis of reason and intellect alone.
Yet there persists the stubborn appearance that something might indeed be going on, we just have no idea nor means to determine what and if it actually is.
It is at the intellectual precipice – the interface between the reasoning mind and the unfathomable singularity of the irrational – that spirituality emerges. Like the accretion disc of gas, matter and radiation surrounding and emitted at the edge of an astronomical black hole, there is something within and about the nature of the appearances of mind themselves, particularly within proximity to the singularity of the unknown, which gives a certain shape to the unfathomable within and provides a direction for the searching intellect. This direction, is the stability and sanity of the way. It is the realisation of Self, with respect to our own unavoidable common assumptions and most intimate notions. It is the resolution of the equation the searching intellect is forever trying to solve.
The ‘equation’ most of us are forever trying to ‘run’ is unbalanced. We impart a seriousness to our activities which implies a presumption of knowledge we never in truth possess. In particular, we presume our person to be an independent agency. With such a monumental and misguided assumption, the equation can never balance.
An open letter to the spiritual wanderer, my past ‘self’, and future ‘selves’:
It has come to my attention that you are looking for answers. In reality, I can claim nothing of any value – nothing whatsoever. Nevertheless, in so much as you seem sure that you must look, I am compelled to offer a few words of friendly advice:
In so much as the spiritual journey may be construed to be about some kind of existential ‘liberation’ or ‘enlightenment’, I have made the following observations, for the earnest seeker who is interested and “has ears to hear”.
All paths are ultimately a misdirection. There are no paths to Truth. That for which you are apparently in search is none other than Self.
Since you assume you do not know it, it only seems to be absent. Since you assume pathology, it only seems to be apparent.
What could possibly be of more value, more reality to you, than Self? How can you ever be apart from Self?
The realm of words, language and mind tells you nothing about reality. What can you say about reality, with any certainty, that you did not inherit from elsewhere? Mind is a parrot.
Everything is subordinate to the (un)reality of experience.
Within experience, there are innumerable signs. Human culture, thought and understanding are littered with such signs. Yet the signs themselves are not truth.
The Self is unknowable to mind; the truth has no need to be known.
The realm of ideas and concepts is a mere ‘veil’ translucent to the light of that which is real.
Reality is not an enigma; look deeply; unknowing too, is an ignorance.
How can there ever be a direction to the inescapable?
The ‘meaning’ of life is to be found only within the immediate and continual dance of experience, within the timeless singularity of appearing and nowhere else, free of all and any supposed restriction, free of all and any supposed freedom.
The only point (for those who fathom my meaning), is real happiness. Not an emotion, but merely the absence of any genuine implication that there is anything besides (happiness).
All ‘paths’ can only ever lead you back to that not-place you never left – to Self.
(masquerading as the ‘voidmystic’, a.k.a ‘Joshua’)
This is an important truth, however, it is often misused to short-circuit the spiritual search in some sense prematurely – from the perspective of the seeker anyway. Though the suffering of the seeker is in some sense existentially meaningless, that which we might call the human condition generally compels some kind of empathetic response to seeking – which is the very reason we might readily give to explain in relative terms why so many people who have had an awakening are drawn to share their own insight into reality. The suffering of the seeker may be existentially meaningless, but it is also existentially important – it is no less a phenomenal artefact of the totality that is.
We must be careful in our choice of words. The personal you has no substantive reality, yet to say ‘there is no you’ is clumsy and can be quite misleading. The majority of those who have apparently realised a deeper and profound depth of reality do not employ such realisation as an injunction against the totality of personhood. If they did, it would be contrived, as if seeking to commit a kind of psycho-spiritual suicide – contrived because it is the suicide or self-denial of the fictional character. To say that you do not exist ought not to be misunderstood as a simplistic injunction against the reality of the illusion itself. There is a person, however fictitious.
Accepting that there can be any kind of apparent recognition of the truth, or any kind of apparent ignorance of it, is to accept that some transformation occurs within the dream. The dream is ultimately that which changes, not that which is the subject of realisation. The fundamental ground of reality is unchanging, and even though this unchanging ground is the subject of realisation, the manifestation of this realisation occurs within the context of the ever-changing personal illusion. If we are to speak even a single word on this phenomenon, we are implicitly accepting this truth.
So then, what is the nature of this change? The nature of this change must be in the most general sense described, as a significantly diminished psycho-spiritual sense of the reality of the separate skin-encapsulated ego. It is not so much the accumulation of insight or knowledge, as the loss of confusion or ignorance. It is significant with respect to our discernment of any kind of transformation, in so much as the suffering of suffering can be said to no longer occur. It is psycho-spiritual, and only described, because the depth, breadth and degree of this diminished sense of reality is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and highly variable within the appearance of time – liberation and enlightenment is awakening and realisation embodied.
The ultimate truth is that there is no meaningful attribution of agency to the personal self – there is nothing the personal you can do, in reality. In dreaming, however, the dream character may become more or less lucid, and can seemingly attain a certain embodiment of understanding through its activities that seemingly enables this lucidity within the dreaming. The emergence of this degree of lucidity is really a certain evolution of the lucidity of the character to its ultimate nature, as ever perceived by the real dreamer – the Absolute – the Self.
Everything that occurs is no less and no more a part of this transformative appearance, that we might discern from within the dream. Lucidity is no more and no less a characteristic of the play of form within the dream, than any other form. Though the subject of that lucidity is always omnipresent. In this way, that which appears causal is implicated in lucidity; the person can be observed as engaged in activities that lay the seeds of lucidity. Thusly described, because the important caveat is that the germination of these seeds, as with the reality of all activities, is fundamentally a cosmic event – an act of the Absolute or divine grace.
‘You’ may plant the seeds. The rest is quite beyond ‘you’.
The individual psyche cannot be disentangled from the collective.
Direction, motivation and energy are implicit in understanding;
Understanding matures through experience;
Tools can be used skillfully (and otherwise) to prompt experiences.
The limits and fundamental properties of a tool or instrument must be understood for the tool or instrument to be mastered and not misused or blunted. The mind is such a tool.
Mind is the tool for pragmatic intelligence;
Heart is the instrument of emotional intelligence;
The two operate in fundamentally distinct ways,
and confusing the two results in misuse of both.
Unhappiness is an insubstantial pathology.
A solution acceptable to the moment is always forthcoming when the phony guard of mind is seen unfit and no longer required.
All claims imply an authority,
But from what authority is this authority derived?
... To say nothing of the principle itself.
The reality of a phenomenon is not distinct from the reality itself – the quality of being real is not distinct from the reality we have so named. In this regard, there is one reality – at least from the perspective of any given reality, or consciousness. That we accept multiple points of view – the existence of multiple sentient beings – is merely to acknowledge the multiplicity of beings and indeed cannot imply the existence of more than one reality. In fact, there can only be one reality, because the very fact of the multiplicity of beings is an implicit acknowledgement that these conscious perspectives overlap – there is the potential for interaction between any two or more points of view within the context of a common phenomenal terrain. Moreover, the identity of that which we mean by reality or consciousness, as defined, is not itself an object and is thus devoid of characteristics. As such, it is totally and completely devoid of identity, including even the implied identity of being ‘real’. To speak of the real is merely a somewhat futile attempt by language, itself a phenomena appearing and entirely circumscribed by and dependant upon the one reality, to refer to that very reality. Thus, being completely devoid of identity, the reality of any given perspective is indistinguishable from any other. For all intents and purposes, and regardless of the pragmatic utility of any metaphysical speculations to the contrary, there can be only one reality. It is, in fact, intrinsic to our very definition of reality, that it is none other than that which substantiates the existence of all phenomena.
Language is intrinsically divisive and discriminatory. It must always be so. This creates an interesting challenge in our efforts to investigate the character of reality, which is by definition and by nature, intrinsically indivisible.
To speak of reality is to speak of the substrate of existence, that which is prior to and yet essential to the ‘thingness’ of all things – the noumenon if you like. Yet this realness is not distinct from that which it ‘pervades’ just as the water is not distinct from the ocean. In a simplistic metaphorical sense, it could be said that the reality of the ocean is water. Nevertheless, in this metaphor, the water itself is not a thing.
Regarding the search of Man for the divine, for the sacred, and for the ultimate Truth:
“What am I ?”
Examine that which you are – the essential nature of that which is looking ;
Examine what you think you are – at what appears to be looking.
You Are This.
There is great joy upon (re)discovering the energy of presence.
The question arises, “But sir, how do you know? How is it that you profess to know such things, when all the scientists and philosophers of the World have worked throughout the ages and yet, reached no agreement.”
The simple answer is that I do not. I make no such assertion. In fact, if there is any difference between you and I, it is entirely superficial. The character which appears before you is simply attempting (perhaps poorly) to point out that not only do I know nothing, but nor do you. Moreover, that the depth of this not-knowing is profound and all-consuming; it has never even been established that you nor I exist, that pleasure and pain are anything with which to be concerned, nor any other seemingly established pattern of the behaviour of that which we call the individual. This is, in fact, precisely the point.
Nothing in reality can ever be established as important relative to and in contrast to any other ‘thing’ as notated within the realm of mind, because to establish the relative importance of any ‘thing’ over any other we have only more equally questionable ‘things’ upon which to rely for our evidence.
This is great news, in fact! If you do entertain the possibility, and allow it to reach the inevitable conclusion, then there is at least theoretically the possibility of a kind of ‘undoing’. That peculiar nervous self-referential mirage which we often call a ‘mind’, is nevertheless apparently able to learn, regardless of its highly dubious status in the grand scheme of reality. So there exists the possibility, if you will suspend your judgements and doubts, be quiet sufficiently to really hear, and give careful consideration to what is heard, that there may be a radical undoing – an opening to a way of being seemingly in the World yet no longer perennially frustrated by it.
Ultimately, the World is not yours. Nor is the body-mind. These ‘things’ are nothing to be concerned about. Where concern exists, that too is okay. That too is part of the play.
At first, deep consideration may lead us only to a seemingly perplexing dead-end – an intellectual cul-de-sac, wherein seemingly there is nothing to see. This place is perhaps most aptly described by the summation, “the only thing I know is that I know nothing.” On a deeper more watchful inspection, however, there is more that may be readily drawn from this enigma, without putting anything there that wasn’t already self-evident.
1) That we are unable to fathom an intrinsic meaning …
2) We fear of course. We fear discomfort, hardship and pain. We fear being wrong or ignorant. We fear embarrassment. We fear being insignificant, not worthy of mention, having achieved nothing, of growing old with regret. We fear becoming immoral or unresponsive. We fear spiritual purgatory. Ultimately, we fear fear itself. Because to merely entertain for but a moment the idea that perhaps reality is devoid of any intrinsic meaning whatsoever, is to simultaneously raise the possibility that prolonged entertainment of such a paradigm-shattering idea is perhaps a monumental blunder, and with such significant mistakes we are taught to associate equally devastating and unpleasant consequences.
Meaning is something imposed upon reality by reality itself – by you – the Self with a capital ‘S’. Thus there exists an opportunity to allow the character you play to be ‘moved’ both physically and emotionally – to relax the grasp when it is realised that even the idea alone that you are the character, constitutes a futile, if subtle, grasping at the forever ephemeral. It is not something you do. It is something you are already. Only the mind-body, itself illusion, is grasping. Investigate the reality of the body-mind, of the Self. Insights, understanding and conclusions will draw themselves, as they always have, as everything always does.
Imagine for a moment – suspend all belief, disbelief and preconceptions of any kind, however well you might suppose that you can will probably suffice – imagine that you are aware. Imagine that you are aware, and you are having an experience. Though you know nothing of the significance of that experience. Nor do you understand any ruminations of the abject chatter of the mind – the internal dialogue, if it is present, is like a foreign language to you – no different to the chatter of frogs or the clatter of breaking pottery. Imagine that you are simply aware. At the epicentre of your field of view, there appears to be a creature of which you are intimately aware. If you had knowledge of the passing chatter of thoughts, you might recognise the idea that this creature is supposedly you. Though in this imagining, you have no such knowledge. In fact, you have no knowledge of any kind – so ideas like ‘centre’ are themselves quite meaningless. You are simply aware.
In this imagining, what do you know? Obviously, we have deliberately conspired to configure this imagining such that apparently you know nothing. Nevertheless, how can it be said that this imagining differs from your supposed ‘daily experience’ of reality? If you look carefully, you will find it does not.
A moment of any sound is silence. What then is the continuity of a sound? What is the sound of silence?
All musings and understandings of mind are just patterns within you, like the dance of rain across the surface of a pond, the sound of shattering pottery, and form of the labyrinth of subterranean tunnels through which insects crawl.
The effect of a message of Truth can only ever be a symbolic negation. Paradoxically, such messages have literally nothing to give, nor anything to take away.
There is literally nothing that can be given, nor anyone who can give, nor anyone who can receive:
You are that for which the restless mind is in search. You are the Truth itself.
Happiness without cause is the perfume of this realisation.
To be ‘in the moment’ is not something which takes place in time;
The moment is without time.
The way is a resting within the heart of the mind – the innermost sanctum – at the very intersection between life and death.
To be a single-grain of sand, sunk to the ocean floor, and no longer caught within the tumult above.
In this way, the disposition of the illusion is in alignment with the reality of its appearing.
All appearances are a doorway. The key is not-knowing.